By Rica Arevalo
INSIDE DIREK PAUL’S LIFE : Paul Soriano with fellow DGPI members
INSIDE DIREK PAUL’S LIFE : Behind-the-scenes with Direk Paul (Photo by Karen De La Fuente)
INSIDE DIREK PAUL’S LIFE : Paul directing Jericho Rosales in Siargao
INSIDE DIREK PAUL’S LIFE : for Paul, love is being with wife Toni Gonzaga and son Seve
Paul Soriano comes from a respectable showbiz lineage with actor Nestor de Villa as grandfather and director Jeric Soriano as father.
“I was exposed to it since birth,” says the Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 Best Director. “The set of the film world, show business is like my playground,” he recalls. “I remember after school, I would race to my dad’s set. I would go to my lolo’s movie shooting so I literally grew up behind the camera.”
Paul is a big fan of failure because “it allows you to appreciate your success.” After making eight features as a director and producer, he found success in Siargao.
“It is very possible to create a story that you are passionate about, to put your name on it, to be proud of it and reap the awards and the box office success,” he muses. “It took me nine years to experience this!”
Siargao got seven awards from the 43rd Metro Manila Film Festival and landed third in the box-office results.
His favorite local film is Hotshots written by Jose Javier Reyes and directed by his father. “I am biased here but Hotshots was the first film I saw,” says the 36-year-old Libra. “My father had a Betamax copy. I watched it a lot. I believe Hotshots was ahead of its time.”
He has produced films of upcoming directors like Hannah Espia’s Transit, Giancarlo Abrahan’s Dagitab, Milo Sogueco’s Mariquina, and supported Lav Diaz’s Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery).
“I believe we have some of the best stories from all over the world. As a producer, it allows me to give these stories the light of day,” reflects Paul. “Producing is almost like attending a master class with these directors.”
He advises filmmakers to listen to one’s self. “Don’t lose your voice because of the all the comments that are happening out there, all the likes and dislikes,” says the Ten17P film company founder. “Try to listen to your heart and soul.”
To love Philippine cinema, his battle cry is: “We need the audience to sustain our dreams, to sustain the stories. Let us not lose that experience of going to the cinema, buying a ticket, getting some popcorn and experiencing a film with 200 other people.”
What is love? His eyes sparkled, “Love is my family. It is my wife and my son.”
Paul and Toni Gonzaga are celebrating their third wedding anniversary this June. “At the end of a long film shoot or the stress that production brings, going home, seeing the laughter and smiles of my young boy and of course my loving wife, you forget everything. You just embrace that love. I share my successes with them. I share my failures with them. At the end of the day, you will have your critiques, but family will always be there. That’s love for me.”